Composition of wine bottle wrapper

There’s a thin metallic wrap surrounding the tops of wine bottles that you must peel to get to the cork.

The older ones seem more “leaden”, the newer ones more like aluminum. Is this the case or is it something else?

The reason I ask: fear of anything with lead in it with a little 'un around.

Thanks in advance!

IIRC, on older bottle that seal used to be lead foil. Nowadays the seal is made of something non-toxic – plastic or perhaps aluminum. But of course older bottled vintages might still have lead foil.

As a matter of course, I always wipe off the neck of the bottle after removing the seal but before uncorking, even if the seal is not lead. Depending on the age of the bottle, other “stuff” can get up inside the seal (mold and so on), none of which I want in my libation!

But you really shouldn’t be serving wine (unleaded or otherwise) to your young 'un. :wink:

Yes, they switched from lead foil to non-lead foil because God forbit there are any toxins present in our wine.

Traditionally, the item you are referring (called the capsule) is in fact made with lead.

If the wine you dealing with was bottled after the 1991, it won’t be made of lead, some other material has been substituted.

Was the lead foil on bottles ever really a health problem? It is not like it was ever in contact with the wine.

A study was done in the mid 80’s I believe that indicated high levels of lead in the wine from the capsules.

However, this study was attacked (rightly so, I believe) because the protocol required that the lip of the bottle not be wiped after opening.

The acidity of wine is certainly capable of disolving lead into wine. So, it is a threat in theory.

Some simple procedures pretty well eliminate the threat though. (btw, I still open lead closed bottles VERY regularly)

  1. If you cut the capsule with a capsule knife, cut it far enough below the very lip of the wine bottle so that wine won’t be dribbling across it as it is poured.
  2. Wipe the bottle after the capsule is removed and to be really sure, right after the cork is removed also.

My favorite technique is to simply pull the capsule right off the end of the bottle. The lead capsules are soft enough for this to be quite easy. It is much quicker than screwing with a knife. Then wipe the neck thoroughly.

Most of the wine bottles I’ve opened lately (which isn’t many) had a plastic capsule, or one made from some sort of softish metal, definitely not aluminium, but seemingly not lead either; my guess was that it was tin.

There are 3 types of capsules commonly used:

Tin-the nicest looking and feeling, has a nice finish and molds nicely to the bottle, the most expensive of the 3, therefore usually found on better end wines.

A poly-laminate- A combination of tin and plastic, closely resembles the look and feel of tin, but at less cost, usually found on mid-priced wines.

And PVC- plastic, not as nice looking, has a thick seam, doesn’t mold to the bottle as well, on lower end wines.

I’m speaking of price range very loosely, not counting jug or box wines as wine at all, or anything with a screw cap.
Purchasing Agent for a Major Wine Company

Have any luck finding not so common bottles? Say a case of 1978 Pichon Leland? Or am I allowed to ask that?